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power of stories

The Small Picture – MINT Friday 12th July Page 17

A picture story so touching.
Picture of a MIRROR – Every woman has one. It could be a makeshift table with a mirror on it, an elaborate dressing table or a simple shard of mirror hung on a wall. This is mine.

Zoom in to a neckpiece with the price tag on it – Every morning I wake up and come here to complete getting ready for the day. The simple ritual helps me arm myself against the world, to feel more like me… I look for myself in the face the face that reflects back at me.

Zoom in to see a bottle of moisturizer – I start with the moisturizer – It reminds me of my mother, so I buy it even though it’s a bit expensive Rs165/- As my hand travels over the surface of my skin it feels different now. The tissue and bone are no longer separate and sharply defined.

Zoom to a comb – Next. I comb my hair. Sometimes I just run my hands through and apply this new gel – Rs.570/-. It’s the most expensive thing on my table.

Zoom to a few earrings – I take my time over the earrings – There are so many from friends, family, even a few I have bought for myself, they are my weakness. I don’t wear them anymore. My ears can’t bear the weight.

Zoom to a box with eye pencils – Last I apply the kajal marking two dark lines beneath my eyes, I still like using this old brand – even though it costs Rs.50/- now – I dont wear kajal – there is very little the lines can mark. My eyes and eyelids have been burnt away.

Zoom to a bottle of acid – I look at myself one last time and leave for work. I can’t really see very much anymore. I want to work, but most people dont want to hire me. You see. my life changed in one instant by this little bottle of acid which costs less than everything on this table, and is just as easy to buy.

They said they threw it at me to teach me a lesson… The case is still in court.
It ate away at my skin, my hair, my ears and my eyes.
But my voice remains.
And I want to speak.
___________________________________________________________________________

Close to 20 years back a classmate’s sister had been a victim of acid attack. We did not see our classmate in school for days and when he came back it all seemed normal. When I look back today it seems so wrong. Why did we all of us behave so helpless?

Why did it take over 20 years (maybe more) for someone to file a petition for the ban on retail of acid?

And today I feel terrible about myself because just 2 days back I read a post on social media asking to sign up for some petition.

Laxmi was a victim of acid attack at the age of 15 because she refused to marry a man. She is now moving the courts to ban the sale of acid.
https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/sushil-kumar-shinde-stop-the-sale-of-acid-in-retail-womensafety-stopacidattacks?utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

I ignored it.

___________________________________________________________________________

But today The Small Picture in MINT moved me. It took me back 20 years to the feeling of helplessness. And then it moved me to search though my timeline and sign Laxmi’s petition.

MINT says there are few official statistics on acid attack victims in India. But it is acknowledged that the majority of victims are female. Assailants often get off due to lack of evidence or receive a mere 3-4 years sentence if convicted. There is often no adequate compensation to pay for reconstructive surgery for victims.

And yet that was not what The Small Picture spoke about. In today’s world it takes effort to move us emotionally. They told use a story. A story that catches you off guard. When you are reading this story it seems like it could be about inflation or an old lady, even the last picture of the acid bottle on the table only builds intrigue.

When I read the last sentence I knew I wanted to speak with and for her.

Power of stories.

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This entry was posted on July 12, 2013 by in the power of stories and tagged , , .

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